Should You Paint the Inside of Your Kitchen Cabinets?

should i paint the inside of my cabinets

If you’re considering a repaint on your kitchen cabinets, you might wonder if you should also paint the inside surfaces of doors, shelves, and drawers.

After all, the inside of the cabinets is visible when the doors are open (or if you have glass windows), so it makes sense that you would want them to look nice as well.

While painting the inside of your kitchen cabinets is a good idea due to the layer of protection added along with good looks, it’s not necessary.


Because it rarely does add to the functional value as the inside of cabinets is not always visible. Also, reaching and painting the areas (even after removing the cabinet doors and other hardware) is challenging and time-consuming.

However, there are a few considerations before you conclude. In this blog post, I will discuss the pros and cons of painting the inside kitchen cabinets so you can make an informed decision.

Painting Kitchen Cabinets Inside – Pros and Cons

Although time-consuming and sometimes tricky, painting the inside of the kitchen cabinets is worth it because:

1- It Adds an Extra Layer of Protection

Cabinets in your kitchen are constantly exposed to oil vapors, grease, dust, and other debris – even from the inside.

So painting the inside of them creates a barrier that will help to protect the wood.

2- It Brightens up the Space Inside

A fresh coat of paint can brighten up the inside of your cabinets and make them look newer, even if they’re starting to show some wear and tear on the outside.

If you’re painting your cabinets a new color, painting the inside will also help to create a cohesive look.

3- You Can Use Paint to Line the Shelves

One way to make the inside of your cabinets more functional is to use paint to create lines or dividers on the shelves.

This can be especially helpful if you have a lot of small items that tend to get lost in the shuffle.

4- It Makes it Easier to Clean

A fresh coat of paint will also make it easier to wipe down the interiors of your cabinets when they need to be cleaned.

And, if you use semi-gloss or high-gloss paint, the inside of your cabinets will be easier to keep clean in general.

5- You Can change the Color if You Want to

If you don’t like the color you’ve painted inside your cabinets, it’s easy enough to change it.

Simply pick up the fresh paint and brushes and repaint them a different color!

The Cons of Painting the Inside Cabinets

While there are some definite advantages to painting the interiors of your kitchen cabinets, there are also a few drawbacks to consider, including:

1- It’s Time-Consuming

Painting the inside of kitchen cabinets is a time-consuming task, especially if you have a lot of cabinets.

You’ll need to remove all the doors and hardware, then clean and prep the surfaces before you can even start painting.

2- It’s Difficult to Reach Certain Areas

Depending on the size and layout of your cabinets, it can be difficult to reach some internal areas while painting.

This means you might have to get creative with how you paint or hire someone to help you.

3- You Might Accidentally Paint the Outside of the Cabinets

When painting the inside cabinets, there’s always a risk of accidentally getting paint on the outside as well.

To avoid this, tape off the areas around the doors and handles before you start painting.

4- It’s Not Always Necessary

If your cabinets are in good condition and you’re happy with their appearance, there’s no need to paint the inside.

It’s only necessary if you’re looking to protect the wood or change the color of the cabinets.

tips to paint the inside of the kitchen cabinets

Painting the Inside of Kitchen Cabinets Step-By-Step

Painting the inside of kitchen cabinets isn’t always essential, but if you choose to do so, it will take a long time,

However, if you know how to do it, it’s not very difficult.

Here is a step-by-step process to get the job done right without consuming much time…

Step 1. Remove all of the doors and hardware from your cabinets. This includes any hinges, handles, or knobs.

Step 2. Clean the surfaces of your cabinets with a degreaser or TSP solution to remove any grease or dirt that could prevent the paint from adhering properly.

Step 3. If necessary, sand the interiors of your cabinets to create a smooth surface for painting.

Also, fill any holes or scratches with wood filler and sand smooth again once dry.

Once your cabinets are prepared from the inside, it’s time to start priming and painting!

Step 4. Prime your cabinets with a high-quality primer such as oil-based or shellac primer.

This will help the paint to adhere better and prevent any bleed-through.

Step 5. Paint your cabinets with high-quality paint such as Kilz latex or oil-based.

While latex dries quickly and has lower VOC levels, oil-based paints are more durable and will provide a better finish.

For painting inside the cabinets, you will need to use a small bristle brush or a mini roller for the best results.

However, you can consider using spray paints such as Rust-Oleum to make the process even faster.

Start with the hardest areas to reach and then move on to the larger surfaces.

Step 6. Once your paint is dry, reattach all of the doors and hardware.

And that’s it! You’ve now successfully painted the inside of your kitchen cabinets.

TIP: For interiors, you do not need to add any additional coats of paint.

Just remember to take your time and prep the surfaces properly for better paint adhesion.

What Color Should You Paint Your Cabinet Interiors?

Benjamin Moore suggests that using a bold pop of color is an excellent choice if you have open shelving or cabinets with glass windows.

But in general, white and neutral colors (like off-white, ivory, or cream) are always the safest choices when painting the cabinets inside.

These softer colors go well with any kitchen decor and the cabinets’ exterior. Plus, they will help brighten the inside space, making it feel more spacious.

For the finish, you can choose between a high-gloss, semi-gloss, or even a matte finish.

A high-gloss finish will make the space look more sleek and modern, while a matte finish will give it more of a traditional look.

If you’re unsure what color to paint your cabinets, you can always ask for samples and swatches from a local paint store. These allow testing the colors and their appearance before committing to a specific shade.

Alternatives to Painting the Interiors of Kitchen Cabinets

I understand that you are often very busy or painting is not your thing, so here are some alternatives to painting the kitchen cabinets inside.

Trying these substitutes can help you finish your cabinet refinishing project quickly and easily.

1- Contact Paper

You can use contact paper to line the shelves of your cabinets and add a pop of color or pattern.

This is an easy way to change the look of your cabinets without having to paint them.

2- Drawer Liners

Drawer liners are another easy way to add color and pattern to the inside of your cabinets.

Plus, they’re functional as well! They’ll help to keep your dishes and silverware in place and make it easier to clean up any spills.

3- Cabinet Inserts

Consider using cabinet inserts if you want to add some extra functionality to your cabinets.

Various inserts are available that can help you organize everything from dishes to spices.

4- Thin Laminate Sheets

If you want to change the color of your cabinets from the inside but don’t want to paint them, you can use thin laminate sheets.

These colored sheets can be cut to fit the inside of your cabinets and then glued or taped.

5- Use Decals

Another way to add some personality to your cabinets without painting them is to use decals.

There are a variety of decals available that can be used inside cabinets. You can find everything from simple shapes to complex designs.

So, should you paint the inside of the kitchen cabinets or leave it as it is?

Before committing to painting the inside of your kitchen cabinets, like doors, windows, and drawers, consider the amount of time it will take, the difficulty of reaching areas, and the risk of accidentally getting the color on the outside.

So, while it’s not essential, the final decision depends on your preference and what type of finish you hope to achieve by painting them.

If you’re looking to add an extra layer of protection or change the color of your cabinets, then painting the inside is a good idea.

However, if you’re happy with how they look and don’t want to spend the time or money on painting them, then there’s no need to do so.

You can just clean them and leave them as they are. Or use very little paint to do some touchups.

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